Today on the Hill: Primary Day in Eight States; House Returns to Tackle Natural Resources Suspension Bills

Both chambers of Congress will be in action today as the House returns from its week-long Memorial Day recess.  Prior to tackling high-profile legislative items such as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and the first FY 2019 appropriations “minibus” (H.R. 5895), the lower chamber will ease into its legislative work week with consideration of seven suspension bills out of the House Committee on Natural Resources. In the upper chamber, senators will continue their work on presidential nominations before moving to the more substantive part of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) to-do list. The Senate is slated to vote on the confirmation of  Robert Weir to be a district-level judge in Kentucky, followed by a vote to invoke cloture on the nomination of Fernando Rodriguez Jr. to be a district judge in Southern Texas.

Meanwhile, voters in eight states — Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota — will head to the polls today to select candidates for the November midterm elections. Democrats are hoping to avoid getting locked out of a handful of House races in California due to its unique “jungle” primary system that awards the top two vote-getters spots on the ballot in the general election, regardless of party. National Democratic leadership views California as central to their campaign to take a House majority, and have strongly pressed California Democrats to coalesce in order to avoid a lockout situation. Elsewhere, incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) — who many in Washington perceive as vulnerable this fall — will learn who he will have to contend with this fall. The most likely nominees are State Auditor Matt Rosendale and retired judge Russ Fagg, who both promise to take aim at Sen. Tester as a foe to President Trump.